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By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

SA has over 110 000 rape kits, but here’s why you won’t find them at every police station

The amount of kits often far exceeds the number required, except in the Northern Cape and KZN.

Amid the scourge of gender-based violence, abuse and femicide, police have revealed that more than 110 000 sexual assault kits are currently available to victims but not all police stations have them.

Responding to a parliamentary question recently, national police commissioner Fannie Masemola detailed how many kits were available in each province.

The kits are used by police when taking or referring a victim of assault to a medical facility to collect evidence.

Surplus, except in the Northern Cape and KZN

The amount of kits often far exceeded the number required, except in the Northern Cape where 857 adult sexual assault evidence kits were needed but only 835 were available.

READ MORE: Police concerned about numerous child rape incidents

The province did however have a surplus of more than 200 paediatric or child sexual assault evidence kits.

KwaZulu-Natal had a shortage of 150 child kits, as of 1 March 2024.

In total, 119 832 kits were available at the start of March, while the department estimated 46 119 were required.

But not every station has a kit

Masemola said some stations did not have kits because it is “not necessarily cost-effective”.

“The South African Police Service’s (Saps) Division: Supply Chain Management, which is responsible for the procurement and distribution of the kits, has determined that the provisioning of a specific number of kits to every police station is not necessarily cost-effective.

“At certain police stations very few cases which require the use of the kits are reported, resulting in the kits extending beyond their predetermined shelf-life and therefore having to be disposed of as unused”.

He said the supply chain division distributed kits to provinces, and decided which stations should get the kits and how many to send.

ALSO READ: Rape kit shortage to be resolved by month-end

These stations are often based in central locations or close to family violence, child protection and sexual offences units, which collect these kits when needed.

It said the division received feedback monthly on whether enough kits are available in each province.


In 2019, police minister Bheki Cele had to reassure the nation that sufficient kits would soon be available after no kits were available at three stations north of Pretoria for several months.

The shortage from March to July of that year was due to a delay in awarding a tender that allegedly left 76% of stations across the country without adult kits and 69% without paediatric kits.

Watch the minister explain how corruption had a hand in the crisis:

“Without these kits, evidence in reported cases cannot be collected [and] without evidence the ability to successfully prosecute rapists diminishes drastically,” DA MP Andrew Whitfield said at the time.